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The Durban University of Technology (DUT) in collaboration with Tianjin Vocational Institute (TVI) of China hosted the Luban Workshop Innovation and Entrepreneurship Appointment Ceremony and Seminar which took place on 15 June 2021 via Zoom.  The workshop was “Integrating Innovation and Development”.

The online event on integrating innovation and development included a high-level delegation consisting of President Liu, Bin (TVI) and Vice-Chancellor & Principal of DUT, Professor Thandwa Zizwe Mthembu, who officially co-hosted the appointment ceremony and seminar. In attendance were Prof Sibusiso Moyo (Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Engagement & Co-Dean Confucius Institute, DUT);  Prof Wang Kun (Dean of School of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Development, TVI);  Prof Duan Wenyan (Associate Dean -School of Electronic and Information Engineering, TVI);  Prof Shen Xingdong (Head of Additive Manufacturing, Mechanical Engineering, TVI); Prof Liu Yuan (Associate Professor & Assistant Dean, School of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Development); Prof Keolebogile Motaung (Director: Technology Transfer & Innovation, DUT); Prof Oludayo O. Olugbara (Executive Dean, Accounting & Informatics, DUT), Dr Progress Q.T. Mtshali, Chief Information Officer, DUT); Dr Festus Mwangi (Head of Department, Mechanical Engineering, DUT); Dr Lavern Samuels (Director International Education and Partnerships, DUT); Ebrahim Asmal (Senior Lecturer: Department of Information Technology, DUT); Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Executive Deans, Heads of Department, Staff and Students of both TVI and DUT, Chinese Mentors appointed by DUT, Chinese Technical and Administrative Support Team and DUT Mentors appointed by TVI.

The online occasion also marked the appointment of DUT’s Prof Sibusiso Moyo-DVC Research, Innovation and Engagement and Co-Dean Confucius Institute, as Honorary Dean of the School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the Tianjin Vocational Institute, China due to the work she has done at DUT in innovation and entrepreneurship development. The purpose of this appointment was also symbolic to strengthen collaboration between DUT and TVI and to ensure mutual partnerships of training and joint collaborative efforts between the two institutions. Additionally, eight (8) mentors were appointed in total, with four (4) from DUT and TVI respectively to mentor students from each other’s institution. The mentors included the following who were appointed by DUT to mentor TVI students:

  • Prof Oludayo O. Olugbara, (Executive Dean of the Faculty of Accounting and Informatics)
  • Dr Progress Mtshali, (Chief Information Officer)
  • Prof Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, (Director of Technology, Transfer & Innovation)
  • Dr Festus Maina Mwangi, (Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department).

The TVI mentors appointed by DUT to mentor DUT students are:

  • Prof Wang Kun, (Dean of School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development)
  • Prof Duan Wenyan, (Associate Dean, School of Electronic and Information Engineering)
  • Prof Shen Xingdong, (Head of Additive Manufacturing)
  • Prof Liu Yuan, (Assistant Dean, School of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Development).

Addressing the seminar was Prof Liu, Bin-President, Tianjin Vocational Institute, who gave an overview of the Tianjin Vocational Institute which has become the largest comprehensive tertiary vocational education and training provider in Tianjin and home to students from all over China and overseas. 

“Since the inauguration of the South African Luban Workshop in 2019, we (TVI) have already done a number of trainings for students, we also share your passion for innovation and entrepreneurship as this is a good foundation for a successful convening of this workshop and forum. In 2020, with the outbreak of COVID-19, DUT and the faculty team has upheld its technology manufacturing of the face masks to support the efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic, and has become an excellent case of innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said. 

He further indicated that the South African Luban workshop and the Innovation and Entrepreneurship forum will encourage students of both sides to face and usher in the new technology and carry out completion. 

“I sincerely hope that we can share the achievements of innovation and entrepreneurship, our experiences and make efforts to improve our capabilities of innovation and entrepreneurship,” he said. 

Welcoming all the Chinese and South African delegations to the prestigious event was DUT’s vice-chancellor and principal, Prof Mthembu. 

“The seminar marks our joint efforts to strengthen the partnership between TVI and DUT following the signing of our MOU to co-establish the first Luban Workshop in South Africa at DUT on 5 August 2019. This was followed by the launch of the Luban Workshop on 16 December 2019. President Liu Bin himself graced the occasion together with a high level Chinese delegation and our provincial government partners, including our MEC for Basic Education in KZN, Mr Kwazi Mshengu,” he said. 

He further stated that the seminar is also a contribution towards embedding DUT’s DNA, which the University’s ENVISION2030 strategy implores must be about creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship and must, though deeper engagement with the institution’s quad-helix partners, ultimately lead to contributions towards the lives and livelihoods of our broader society. 

“The partnership with TVI, and the Luban Workshop are a practical platform through which our DNA will manifest. Since the establishment and launch in 2019, TVI has continued to reach out to DUT by donating additional 3D printing and IOT (internet of Things) equipment to mainly to reinforce our teaching and learning efforts and skills amongst our students.  Little did we know in December 2019 when COVID-19 emerged in the world that the Luban workshop would play a big role in the manufacturing of PPEs to help the frontline workers combat COVID-19. Additionally, TVI also contributed over 50 000 masks to assist our DUT community to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” he said. 

He stressed that from TVI and China, both can learn how to master the art of skills training, hard work and discipline. Additionally, the innovative curricula and programmes that ensure the graduates can design and manufacture artefacts and products is a key element that DUT aspires to strengthen with the support from the TVI mentors and using the TVI experience. 

“I wish to take this opportunity to thank President Liu Bin and his team for spearheading our partnership and I thank him for the appointment of Prof S Moyo as Honorary Dean: School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, TVI, as well as all the four DUT Mentors. With lots of projects on innovation and entrepreneurship at DUT that Prof Moyo spearheads, we are hopeful that her appointment will also serve to enhance and even internationalise them with the help of TVI’s experience. Congratulations to the Chinese mentors who will mentor our students attached to them as well as our DUT mentors appointed by TVI.
We look forward to the successful implementation of this initiative,” he said. 

The next part of the seminar was the Appointment ceremony of DUT’s Prof Moyo, as Honorary Dean of School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the Tianjin Vocational Institute. 

Her task as Honorary Dean entails driving, nurturing and instilling a research and innovation culture in staff and students and actively ensuring that the University engages with its quad-helix partners, a position which is in line with her role.  

Speaking on her exhilaration of being appointed in an Honorary Dean position, she thanked President Liu, Bin for the appointment and acknowledged DUT’s Professor Thandwa Mthembu for his support. She further thanked both teams at DUT and TVI on the contribution that they are going to make to the School of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and also to the programmes that the students and staff would be involved in, in order to become the best versions of themselves and contribute to solving current challenges facing their respective societies and economies. 

“We do hope that, obviously, in our students’ participation in the Chinese Innovation competition and in building up our innovation infrastructure at DUT, we would be able to ensure that our students are given the best and relevant exposure and training, while at the same time aspiring to emerge as winners of most of the competitions that we will take part in as TVI and DUT,” she said. 

After the Appointment ceremony, the seminar took place which had presentations delivered by Prof Olugbara on “Reconstructing Education Patterns through Collaborative Creation Paradigm”. Prof Kun gave his presentation titled “Build an Ecological Chain of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Through Empowerment by Competition and Foundation Construction by Course”.  

Prof Motaung spoke on”Fostering Technology Transfer & Innovation at the Durban University of Technology”. Internet of Things (IoT) Senior Lecturer, Wang Haifeng delved into the topic on “Convergence, Innovation and Development”. DUT’s Dr Mtshali gave more insight on the  “Advanced Telemedicine in the Modern Era”. 

The last speaker of the seminar was Wen Chengyu, China Career Development Mentor, who presented on “Promoting Education with Competitions, and Exploring the New Approaches for Talent Cultivation”.   

A question and answer session continued, followed by the vote of thanks which was given by Prof Moyo. 

 Pictured: Row 1 – President Liu, Bin and Prof Thandwa Zizwe Mthembu

                  Row 2 – Prof Sibusiso Moyo

                  Row 3 – Mentors: TVI (Prof Wang Kun, Prof Duan Wenyan, Prof Shen Xingdong, Prof Liu Yuan) and DUT (Prof Oludayo O. Olugbara, Dr                                   Progress Mtshali, Prof. Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, Dr Festus Maina Mwangi).

Waheeda Peters

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